Reporting by Rakesh Trivedi/Zee Media Bureau
MUMBAI: The initial investigations into the chartered plane that crashed in Ghatkopar in Mumbai killing five has revealed that the aircraft may have witnessed a radar failure before the crash. As per prima facie report, it is suspected that due to the radar failure, the aircraft lost its contact with Air traffic control (ATC).
Sources say that the aircraft lost its flying path and flew at a dropping altitude. It is likely that the engine was on when the crash took place leading to the huge sound that was heard. As per sources, if there is a technical glitch, the engine is switched off and aircraft is made to glide for a crash but in this case, the engine remained turned on during the crash.
It is suspected that a radar failure may not have allowed the pilot to make the aircraft glide. Flying in cloudy weather conditions is likely to have added to the problem in visibility.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will be inspecting the crash to find out who gave the clearance to the aircraft which had a poor radar function in place. It is also likely to be probed that after the aircraft disappeared from ATC's radar, why were no steps taken by the ATC or the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) to alert other agencies and was there a contingency action plan in place to handle such a situation.
The crash has raised several questions on the security of the Mumbai Airport and preparedness of MIAL and the other stakeholders.
As per the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the chartered plane did not a have certificate of airworthiness. The Ministry said that the aircraft last flew in 2008 when it was with Uttar Pradesh Government and was later bought by M/s UY Aviation in 2014. It had been under maintenance for the last one and a half years.
"UY Aviation Pvt Ltd King Air C-90 aircraft VT-UPZ has met with an unfortunate accident at Mumbai on 28 Jun 2018. The aircraft last flew on 22 Feb 2008 when it was with UP Govt. The aircraft was later bought by M/s UY Aviation in 2014. Thereafter, the aircraft was under maintenance for last one and a half years. Today was the first test flight of the aircraft upon completion of maintenance task before applying for grant of Certificate of Airworthiness/ Airworthiness Review Certificate by DGCA," a tweet by the Ministry said.
"As per the regulatory provisions, before any test flight, a certificate to the effect that the aircraft is fit for flight is required to be issued by the authorised certifying staff of the operator or MRO. The aircraft took off from Juhu airport for test flight. There were two pilots and two AMEs on board the aircraft. All on board aircraft along with one person on ground died in the unfortunate accident. AAIB will conduct the detailed investigation expeditiously," the ministry added.
Five people were killed on Thursday when a chartered plane crashed in the Ghatkopar locality in Mumbai. All four on board the King Air C90 12-seater aircraft - pilot Captian Pradeep Rajput, co-pilot Maria, an engineer Surbhi and a technician - were killed in the tragedy while one person on ground too lost his life.